Roma Czechs Head West To Canada

Last year marked a dramatic increase in Roma Czechs leaving their nation in order to migrate to Canada in search of a nation which respects the rights of Romas. About 367 left in 2007 in contrast to only 130 who had migrated in the previous six years. Max Berger, a Toronto lawyer who works with Roma immigrants, says “they tell me it’s because of beatings and harassments by Skinheads and Neo-Nazis.” Paul St. Clair of Toronto’s Roma Center supports that view. He learned from Roma immigrants that “seven pregnant women were beaten and kicked in the stomach by Skinheads. Four can no longer conceive.” He repeatedly heard from men of their difficulty in securing work in the Czech Republic and employers even told Romas to their faces, “we don’t hire Romas.”

The Czech Republic was among the first victims of Nazi Germany and sixty years later Czech citizens who are members of the National Guard organization march through the streets chanting “The Czech Republic is for white people.” Romas report they have encountered prejudice in Canada but unlike Czech police, the Canadian police are quick to put a halt to attacks on Romas and there are laws against spreading hate.

There is sadness witnessing a people who were subject to incredible hatred allowing hatred to flourish in their society.